Shoes and Purses. Those are among my top items to hoard. When I go to the mall, I stop and look at all of the “fun” looking stuff to put on my feet and sling over my shoulder. I really never seem to have too many (except perhaps from my husband’s point of view).

Though lately, thinking about the deal with Carrier and others, particularly because we just might be able to replace that heat pump and I wanted to know what was going on with that, I’ve been considering my habits in broader terms. After all, none of the handbags that people just fork over a wad of cash for are domestic. I’ve got some real works of art that pose as shoulder bags – but the tags on them all indicate they are probably made by some poor sap getting paid five cents an hour in order for their “employers” to claim they are not slaves.

I admit that my employment conditions description may be an exaggeration. But I began to wonder about the price tags on these items, and who is really benefiting from them. I’ve read lots of articles and papers about trade. And maybe 5 cents an hour is better than zero. The world is a really big place, and I can only have a very small view of it. So, I thought, how about starting at home where I have a better idea about the conditions under which these things are made.

So I did some internet searches on leather handbags made in the USA. I spent quite a while sifting through all the hits and found almost nothing I wanted. In fact, my opinion of most of the styles I found is, ‘Yeah, it’s great if you want to look like you’re wearing a cow, or want a bag to match your fishnet stockings for a walk down Sunset Strip.’ Most are the ugliest things I’ve seen – with huge Moose emblems or leather with the hair still on it. And I haven’t even gotten to the quilted fabric ones… simply hideous blends of Good Will dumpster explosion. One site even had a photo of a model dressed in a floral feedbag-like skirt and combat boots with their oh so appalling handbag slung over her arm.

But what if I want to look professional with a dash of class? I question whether my fellow Americans even know what that is. It is really no wonder Coach eats their lunches every day and twice on Sunday with their imported goods that look much better than any domestic thing I can find.

I can’t say for sure how bad of problem it is or how widespread outside of textiles and accessories. But Donald Trump or not, we’re simply not going to get anywhere if we don’t produce things people want.

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